Telkwa’s Fritz Pfeiffer (centre) is giving $1.6 million to the Bulkley Valley Health Care & Hospital Foundation for a CT scanner in Smithers. (Chris Duncan photo)

Northern Health approves CT Scanner for Smithers

After plenty of community fundraising, the service is coming to Bulkley Valley District Hospital

CT scan services are coming to the Bulkley Valley District Hospital (BVDH) in Smithers.

“It is incredible news,” said health services administrator Cormac Hikisch. “It has been a many-year journey and this is certainly the biggest health care news we’ve had in the Bulkley Valley in more than a decade. It is incredible and we are certainly excited to move into planning mode.”

The project has been approved in Northern Health’s 2018/2019 capital cycle and Hikisch said hopefully it will be implemented in late 2018. There are planning sessions starting this week to get the ball rolling.

CT scans are special X-ray tests that produce cross-sectional images of the body using X-rays and a computer. There is an estimated 3,000 CT procedures a year that are done for patients from the catchment area, which includes Burns Lake to Hazelton. Most patients are sent to Terrace and Prince George.

“It will help with decision making for local medical staff with the patient. A simple example is someone on a c-spine, can we clear that c-spine? A CT may allow that decision to be made in Smithers before any transfer of a patient,” Hikisch said.

“Also, stroke protocol in the emergency room: there are certain treatment plans that can be made relatively quickly with an available CT scan. As well, just the outpatient opportunities: many people require a CT during their health care journey and have had to travel and wait for an appointment.”

The project comes with a $2.9-million price tag, which includes equipment and renovations required to install it at BVDH.

The Bulkley Valley Health Care and Hospital Foundation recently met their fundraising goal of $1.75 million to help bring the service to Smithers. This amount includes the donation from Frtiz Pfeiffer of $1.6 million.

Other sponsors include the Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournament, Seabridge Gold, Bulkley Valley Kinsmen and other individuals and businesses.

As well, an upcoming BV Kinsmen truck demolition derby, comedy night and dance on May 5 will raise funds for it.

“We are elated, we are so happy,” said foundation executive director Laurel Menzel.

“It came together more quickly than we could’ve imagined. It is something a lot of members in the community have talked about and approached me about. Having a CT scanner available in Smithers will reduce the rate of families having to travel as well as reduce the rate of having people get medevaced out of Smithers. Having that diagnostic tool right here in Smithers is big deal.”

The remainder of the funds will come through the regional hospital district and Ministry of Health capital funding.

The chairman of the Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournament is also excited with the news.

The biennial event that raises money for the Bulkley Valley Health Care and Hospital Foundation brought in $90,000 last year for the CT scanner project.

“When Fritz made the donation, we thought it was a great idea to get behind,” said Kent Delwisch. “A lot of the work we’ve done in the past has been raising money for the health care and hospital foundation. Most of us are familiar with the need for equipment and how hard it is to get funding for that.”

Delwisch said he heard some opposition to the idea to support the project at first.

“When we first decided to do it, we talked to some members of the hospital and a few local doctors. There were a few people who suggested it would never happen. There was even one or two members of the health care foundation that thought we’d never get the money raised. It wasn’t that people were upset with us choosing the project but a lot of people didn’t think we’d get far,” he said.

Delwisch knows it is still a while before things get installed but the dream has become a reality.

“It is a great item to have for a small town. It is too bad that it is that tough to get a CT scanner. It is crazy that we have to do as much local fundraising has we’ve had to do in order to make it happen but I guess that is what a small community has to do when we are up against those challenges,” he added.

Hikisch added the CT services are just one of the exciting things happening for diagnostic imaging at the hospital.

“We’ve just implemented the digital mammography unit and we just replaced our ultrasound unit, which was about a $250,000 investment. The radiology room has also been approved for replacement in the near future, which is about a $900,000 project,” he said.

 

Just Posted

Freezing rain warning issued for central Interior Remembrance Day

Highway alerts in place for Begbie Summitt and Pine Pass

BCTF rejects mediator’s recommendations for settlement

Negotiations between B.C. teachers and the province will continue

Telkwa’s Ken and Susan Salter win $20 million Lotto prize

The couple plans to stay in the village

Unist-ot’en supporter arrested for denying contractor access to pipeline site

The unidentified 29-year-old woman was later released without being charged

Faculty at Terrace UNBC campus join strike after failed negotiations

Unfair working conditions required job action demonstration, protesters say

VIDEO: Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

It was the second protester shot since the demonstrations began in early June

Terrace RCMP investigating suspicious death of a man in Thornhill

Kamloops resident was found unresponsive early Sunday morning, died hours later

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

‘Your vehicle burns a lot of fuel:’ Victoria drivers wake up to angry notes

‘This handbill was left on your vehicle because your vehicle burns a lot of fuel,’ notes read

Canadians mark Remembrance Day this morning

This year exactly 101 years to the day after the end of the First World War

Most Read